Paddling Into Nature On Griggs Reservoir

This post is a partial summary of the wonderful diversity of life seen during a recent nine mile paddle on Griggs Reservoir. The reservoir is located within the “city limits” of Columbus, Ohio. Except for a few isolated cases where (Bob) is under the photo my wife was kind enough to handle the photography.

.

It’s been a wet spring with not many nice days to beckon one out into nature. The wet weather in central Ohio has given many rivers and reservoirs a “chocolate milk” appearance, not the preferred aesthetic when paddling. But finally with a good forecast, wildflowers blooming, and the landscape turning evermore green, we decided it was time to get the boat in the water and do some exploring. Over the years we’ve seen many wonderful things in and along the reservoir but given it’s urban location we always try keep our expectations low. If nothing else we’ll get some exercise and we’ll be outdoors.

We enter one of Griggs Reservoirs small coves looking for Black-crowned Night Herons. The rock outcroppings are a favorite place for Wild Columbine, (Bob).

.

The first clue that it might be a better than average day in nature was seeing the Wild Columbine along the reservoirs many rocky outcroppings.

Wild Columbine, (Bob)

A closer look, (Bob).

.

While on the subject of wildflowers we also noticed Wild Stonecrop in the same area.

Wild Stonecrop, (Bob)

.

A little further on we spotted a snapping turtle in the shallows of one of the reservoir’s small coves. The first of many turtles seen.

A Snapping Turtle checks us out from the safety of the water, (Bob).

Not far away a snapper was also observed sunning itself, a rare behavior for this always submerged creature that only occurs in the spring.

Snapping Turtle.

.

Not seen as often as Red Eared Sliders or Map turtles a few softshell turtles were also seen.

Eastern Spiny Softshell.

A second later it disappeared below the surface.

.

We probably shouldn’t ignore some of the other turtles:

A Map Turtle catches some rays.

A very small turtle surveys a big world.

.

We expected to see more water snakes but only one was spotted.

Northern Water Snake.

.

While no Green and Black-crowned Night Herons were seen, a few Great Egrets and countless Great Blue Herons made up for it.

Great Blue Heron.

.

Something not fully appreciated is that four species of swallows make there living along the reservoir; Tree, Cliff, Barn and Rough-winged. The Tree, Cliff, and Barn Swallows are fairly numerous and easy to observe. The Rough-winged don’t seem to be as common.

Barn Swallow, (Bob).

On this particular day the Cliff Swallows were putting on the best show as they busily went about building their nests under the Hayden Run bridge.

Cliff Swallow nest building, (Bob).

Caught with it’s mouth full!

.

We were really excited to see a pair of Wood Ducks because getting a great picture of this duck usually involves using a blind as you can seldom get close enough in a canoe.

Male and female Wood Ducks.

A slightly closer look.

.

Along with the Wood Ducks a much more common and approachable female Mallard is seen with babies.

Female Mallard Duck.

.

Remembering an area at the north end of the reservoir where a nested Prothonotary Warbler was observed last year, we headed for that location and were not disappointed.

Prothonotary Warbler.

With nesting material.

.

As if in comic relief we couldn’t help but notice a Canada Goose that seem ready to set sail while perched high overhead their mate wondered what was going to happen next.

Canada Goose.

 

***

.

A Spotted Sandpiper was spotted and seemed to be in a cooperative mood as it didn’t immediately take flight as we approached.

Spotted Sandpiper.

Eventually it did get tired of the attention.

.

A few other birds were also seen:

Eastern Phoebe.

Tufted Titmouse.

.

Over the years we’ve seen Gray, Red and Fox Squirrels but on this day it was a not uncommon Fox Squirrel. They always seem a bit curious about what we’re doing.

Fox Squirrel.

.

Near a large beaver lodge at the north end of the reservoir we spotted what we first thought was a young beaver but was probably a Muskrat.

Muskrat.

.

It had been awhile since we had seen one along the reservoir so our “Wood Duck” excitement  was more than duplicated with the discovery of a Mink making it’s way along the shore. It’s rapid movement made getting a sharp image a challenge.

Mink.

***

.

We hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some Griggs Reservoir nature. A canoe or kayak can be a great tool for exploring and seeing things that would otherwise not be possible. As a platform for observations with binoculars it’s relatively straight forward. Should you decide to try canoe/kayak nature photography be prepared for more challenges than would be encountered shooting from land and a higher failure rate. The best scenario would be to have someone that loves to paddle handle the boat when you are taking pictures. But even if you are solo it is possible to get some great shots.

Hayden Run Falls framed in spring’s green and with a nice flow, (Bob)

.

Thanks for stopping by.

Journeying On Through Florida

After leaving Lake Kissimmee State Park we headed north, ran the Orlando metro area traffic gauntlet, and arrived at Blue Springs State Park which was a new park for us. After spending a week there we would take relatively quiet back roads further north to Mike Roess State Park. The two parks couldn’t be more different. Blue Springs is a heavily used “day use” park with a small campground near Orlando while the larger Mike Roess SP was quiet and lightly used during our stay. Part of the popularity of Blue Springs can be attributed to the Manatees that inhabit the springs during the winter months and which had started to leave while we were there due to warmer weather. When one ventured away from the campground after mid-morning parking lots were pretty much full and there were always more than enough people in the park’s general use areas. However, once on the water paddling into a secluded creek or cove things changed dramatically and the area felt like wilderness.

.

The big find while hiking the parks limited trails was the endangered Scrub Jay which is a bird we’ve been in search of for some time without success. Habitat destruction appears to be the main reason for its decline.

Scrub Jay.

Another look.

Yellow Star Grass occurred periodically along the trail in single blossoms.

This Eastern Towhee was seen in the same scrub habitat as the jay, (Donna).

This Pileated Woodpecker was also seen along the trail as we searched for the Scrub Jays, (Donna).

Spiderwort.

.

St Johns River near Blue Springs SP.

.

The extensive wildlife seen while canoeing was the big draw at Blue Springs SP. Our favorite paddle was the eleven mile loop that incorporated Snake Creek. The creek is a true celebration of the richness and beauty of nature.

A small alligator checks us out, (Donna).

An immature Black Crowned Night Heron along Snake Creek, (Donna).

A Great Egret watches as we pass by.

St Johns River.

Florida Cooters,  (Donna).

Wood Stork, (Donna).

Black Crowned Night Heron along the St Johns River.

Little Blue Heron in the thick of it.

Snake Creek provided an intimate paddling experience.

Purple Gallinule eating flower petals, St Johns River.

While paddling Snake Creek we came upon this mating pair at Turkeys. The male seemed not to be bothered by our presence.

.

Cypress

.

A Tree frog at water’s edge, (Donna)

.

St Johns River.

.

American Bittern along the St Johns River.

Osprey with fish.

Little Blue Heron preening.

.

Although they are common, Anhingas always catch our eye.

Male Anhinga dries it’s feathers along the St Johns River.

Preening.

.

St Johns river landscape.

.

A Snowy Egret shows off its yellow feet, (Donna).

.

Unlike Blue Springs which provided excellent opportunities to observe wildlife from the water, hiking was the best way to do so at Mike Roess SP. A plus was that there were no crowed parking lots or large numbers of people to negotiate when one left the campground. There were areas to explore around the park’s several small lakes and along one fairly long designated hiking trail. We enjoyed the park’s quiet subtle beauty.

Mike Roess SP landscape.

.

Walking the shoreline of the parks small lakes was an excellent way to see insects. Some of the dragonflies and damselflies seen were new to us.

Vesper Bluet Damselfly, (Donna).

The Variable Dancer Damselfly is one we haven’t seen further north in Ohio.

Carolina Saddlebags, (Donna).

Female Faded Pennant, (Donna).

Male Faded Pennant.

Slaty Skimmer, (Donna).

The Stripe-winged Baskettail is another dragonfly we’ve not seen further north in Ohio.

The Blue Corporal often perches on the ground, (adult male).

The Buckeye is usually seen in late summer in Ohio.

.

Pond reflection.

.

In addition to the insects there were birds to enjoy:

Hermit Thrush.

A Hooded Merganser and a Wood Duck pose.

There was a sizable population of Ring-necked Ducks on the small park lakes.

A closer look.

Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Pied Billed Grebes

A White Eyed Vireo announces its presence.

.

Shoreline grass.

.

As well as other things:

Cricket Frog at waters edge, (Donna).

Unfortunately these lovely but uncommon little flowers that liked the park’s sandy soil remain unidentified.

A Fence Lizard shows it’s underside, (Donna).

Lichen on fallen branch.

A Gopher Tortoise enjoys some grass, (Donna).

Trees.

Pinebarren Frostweed.

A Five Lined Skink shows its beautiful tail, (Donna)

A Long Leaf Pine just starting out.

.

Leaving Mike Roess we’d completed six weeks of exploring nature in Florida. As we looked forward to spending time at Paynes Prairie Preserve and Black River SP before heading north to early spring in Ohio we couldn’t help but feel incredibly blessed.

.

Lily Pads

.

Thanks for stopping by.

An Early June Paddle On Griggs Reservoir

A few days ago while fishing I was fortunate to see two Black-crowned Night Herons. Such a sighting is always a treat in Ohio as, unlike Great Blue Herons, they are only found in a few isolated locations with Griggs Reservoir being one. As you might expect most of their activity is a night so during the day they are usually found perched quietly in trees at waters edge.

 

P1030260fix

Fishing rig for the reservoir.

IMGP0233fixtext

P1030255fix

Black-crowned Night Heron

.

Given my good fortune the day before, my wife expressed the desire to do a paddle, bird camera in hand, with the express goal of seeing and perhaps photographing the herons. Of course as most birders know there is an element of uncertainty to these endeavors. After eight miles of paddling no Black-crowned Night Herons were seen much less photographed but as is often the case other things made up for it.

.

Fawn3 LR best1 060618 Griggs paddle birdcam fix

As I moved the canoe closer a very young White Tail fawn at waters edge tries to remain unnoticed, (Donna).

.

Turtle2 map baby1 LR1 060618 griggs paddle birdcam fix

An also very young Map Turtle, about the size of a fifty cent piece, enjoys the morning sun, (Donna).

.

Wood duck mom and babies2 LR2 060618 Griggs paddle birdcam fix

We catch a rare glimpse of a female wood slinking along the shore with young ones. Usually by the time we get this close they’ve scattered. An outcome we try to avoid, (Donna).

.

Wood duck mom1 LL dashing1 060618 griggs paddle birdcam fix

Typical evasive “wounded” maneuver by a female with young when you get too close, (Donna).

.

Mink2 LLheadon1 060618 Griggs paddle birdcam fix2

In a second he was gone but that was all the time my wife needed to catch this Mink. Pretty exciting as it had been a while since we’d seen one, (Donna).

.

Turtle red-eared slider1 060618 Griggs paddle birdcam fix

A Red-eared Slider poses for a picture. It may now be more common in the reservoir than the Map Turtle, (Donna).

.

Mallard ducks and mom1 060618 Griggs paddle birdcam fix

Usually several groups of mallard duckling are seen during early June paddles, (Donna).

.

IMG_4611Fix

IMG_4603fix

Like all youngsters this immature Red-tailed Hawk was making a lot of noise, demanding to be noticed.

****

Given the number of nesting boxes Prothonotary Warblers are certainly not rare in central Ohio. However, whenever we find one “setting up housekeeping” in a natural tree cavity it’s particularly exciting. Such was the case with the below female at the north end of Griggs.

Prothonotary5 LR gath mat2 060618 Griggs paddle birdcam fix2

Prothonotary Warbler, (Donna).

Prothonotary2 leanL1 headon1 060618 Griggs paddle birdcam fix2

Another view, (Donna).

IMG_4579fix

IMG_4575fix

IMG_4584fix

.

We were almost to the 161 bridge and Kiwanis Riverway Park when we saw the prothonotary and usually go just a little further before turning for the journey home. However, on this particular day it was hard to imagine what would be discovered that would top that already seen so with a fair breeze off our stern we somewhat reluctantly pointed the bow south and headed home. A wonderful way to finish the day.

.

Thanks for stopping by

 

 

Kinglet Quest

In central Ohio early April usually brings the seasons first migrating birds but before they really start moving through the area we like to spend time enjoying spring wildflowers. Unlike many of the birds, their world is located on the forest floor and exists before the overhead canopy all to quickly leafs out and cuts off their sunlight. It is a magical time as splashes of color find expression amid the dullness of last years leaf litter.

A Bloodroot flower waits to open, Duranceaux Park.

As pretty as any wildflower Virginia Waterleaf emerges from the leaf litter, Griggs Reservoir Park.

In what almost seems to be an act of defiance, a solitary Bloodroot blooms surrounded by the slowly decaying leaves, Duranceaux Park.

Cold weather has allowed this Snow Trillium to stay around longer than one usually expects, Duranceaux Park.

Just emerging blooms of Dutchmen’s Breeches, Griggs Reservoir Park.

.

A few days of warm weather, after a week or two of colder than normal spring temperatures, and things really started to open up.

Spring Beauty, Greenlawn Cemetery.

False Rue Anemone, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Bloodroot in full bloom, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

The very tiny flowers of Common Speedwell, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Cutleaf Toothwart, Highbanks Metro Park, (Donna).

Rue Anemone, Highbanks Metro Park, (Donna).

Toadshade Trillium, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Yellow Trout Lilies “march” across the forest floor, High Banks Metro Park, (Donna).

A closer look, (Donna).

.

Often, as we looked for wildflowers, there was activity overhead. A quick glance up indicated that many of the birds were kinglets and they seemed to be everywhere. Armed with that awareness, we dusted off the “bird cameras” and for the next few days made kinglets our primary objective. Often when one decides to look for a specific bird efforts are frustrated, but in this case the kinglets cooperated. “Cooperated” should be qualified by saying that they only do as much as such a hyper active bird can. As many birders know all to well, they’re a challenge to follow with binoculars much less a telephoto equipped camera.

Golden-crowned Kinglet, Duranceaux Park.

Take 2, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Take 3, Duranceaux Park.

 

Take 4, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

.

Not seen as often, we had less luck with the Ruby-crowned Kinglets. For the most part they stayed in the low thickets and brush and moved constantly, with fleeting views often partially obscured by small branches.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Showing off it’s ruby crown.

.

Where there are kinglets there are often .   .   .

Carolina Chickadee, common but not always easy to photograph, Duranceaux Park.

.

While the activity continued below, high overhead a Red-tailed Hawk surveyed it’s realm.

Red-tailed Hawk, Griggs Reservoir Park.

.

On one outing a group of Black Vultures was seen perched in a Sycamore along the shore of the reservoir. Not a real common sight in central Ohio. Closer examination of the nearby area revealed the partially devoured carcass of a deer.

Black Vultures, Griggs Reservoir Park.

.

We don’t want to forget some of the other birds seen as we looked for kinglets.

No bird’s song speaks to us in the spring like that of the the Song Sparrow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Yellow-rumped Warblers are often taken for granted as they are one of the most numerous of their kind but the beauty of this male is undeniable, Greenlawn Cemetery,

Momentarily fooling us into thinking it was a Goldfinch, this Pine Warbler was seen at Greenlawn Cemetery.

Later in the year as low lying bushes leaf out the Eastern Towhee, a large colorful sparrow, will be much harder to see, Greenlawn Cemetery.

White-breasted Nuthatch, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Bluebirds never fail to put a smile on our face, Griggs Reservoir Park.

With fast departing remnants of a spring snow an American Goldfinch warms itself in the morning sun, Griggs Reservoir Park. surrounded by

Always a thrill to see, we were entertained by this acrobatic Black and White Warbler, Greenlawn Cemetery, (Donna).

If I were a first time visitor to Ohio from Europe, I would be enchanted by this American Cardinal, Griggs Reservoir Park.

On a cold spring morning we wonder what this Eastern Phoebe finds to eat, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

A very healthy looking male House Finch, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

This Wood Duck pair  landed in “the pit” at Greenlawn Cemetery but left just as quickly when they realized they were being watched by a rather large group of birders, (Donna).

.

As the ephemeral days of spring pass there will be other wildflowers and winged migrants to enchant, but for a brief moment in time, while on their yearly journey north, kinglets became the seasons exclamation point.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Cliff Swallow Close Up

We often see Cliff Swallows when paddling central Ohio’s reservoirs. While seeing them is not rare, getting a good picture of one is. During a recent outing on Griggs Reservoir we had the opportunity to use the canoe to our advantage. We positioned ourselves so that, sitting motionless, a light breeze propelled the canoe toward swallow nests located on the bridge support structure. By being very still we were able to get much closer than we had previously. Once the paddles were picked up to reposition the boat, the birds flew.

Typical Cliff Swallow nest location, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic ZS50.

Cliff Swallows, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

A closer look, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

.

North end of Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic FZ200.

.

<<<>>>

During our trip, which covered the length of the reservoir, there were plenty of things to see. This was a good thing because I was testing a new Sigma 18-300mm lens. The hope is that the lens, mounted on my DSLR, will do most of what my Panasonic FZ200 does, landscapes, close-ups of insects, and to some extent birds, but with more creative control and exposure latitude while still having the convenance of not having to switch lenses. In harsh light DSLR APS-C sensors tend to do better with highlights and shadows (exposure latitude) when compared to the much smaller sensor used in the FZ200. The Sigma lens is a story of compromises given that it goes from extreme wide angle to telephoto. It’s not a macro lens but will take reasonable pictures of “bugs” while at the same time doing a decent job with landscapes and birds that aren’t to far away. Overall I’m satisfied with it’s performance realizing it will never compete with fixed focal length lenses for ultimate sharpness. For those not familiar with sensor sizes see the chart below. I’ve also included the type of camera used for each picture should the reader be curious.

<<<>>>

.

It’s the insect time of the year along the reservoir ensuring that there are plenty of fascinating subjects.

Fragile Forktail, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, (cropped).

Eastern Forktail (F), Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, (cropped).

Familiar Bluet, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, (cropped).

Widow Skimmer (F) not fully developed, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, (Donna).

Eastern Pondhawk (M), Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Familiar Bluet, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Bee on Milkweed flower, Griggs Park, Panasonic Zs50.

Eastern Amberwing, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Happy Milkweed Beetles, Griggs Reservoir Park, Panasonic ZS50.

.

Reptiles and amphibian greeted us during our journey.

Bullfrog, Griggs Reservoir, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, (cropped).

Hiding, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Very small Map Turtle, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Looking at the other side, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

.

Other things also watched our passing.

White-tailed deer along the shore of Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

.

At the very north end of the reservoir, Kiwanis Riverway Park, we pulled the boat out for a snack break and spent some time checking out the area birds. Hopefully a few more challenging subjects for the Sigma lens would be found.

Great Egret and Cormorant north end of Griggs Reservoir, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, (cropped).

A closer look at the Great Egret, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Tree Swallows, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, cropped.

A male Red-winged Blackbird calls out, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Northern Flicker, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

.

The below picture is interesting because this Wood Duck duckling, along with three of it’s siblings, was reacting to the presence of our canoe. We never chase birds but these guys shot out of the shoreline brush and took off across the water. Sadly, as we watched them head for another hiding spot, one duckling suddenly disappeared not to be seen again. The victim of a Large Mouth Bass or Snapping Turtle perhaps?

Wood Duck duckling, Griggs reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, (Donna).

.

Recent wildflowers seen.

Water Willow, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, cropped.

Butterfly Weed continues to make it’s presence known in Griggs Reservoir Park.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa`

Along the water’s edge the flowers of the Button Bush have just started to bloom, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic ZS 50.

Looking into the woods, a Day Lily stands out, Griggs Reservoir Park, Panasonic ZS50.

Spiderwort, Griggs Reservoir Park, Panasonic ZS50.

Moth Mullein, Griggs Reservoir Park, Panasonic ZS50.

Catnip (non-native), Panasonic ZS50.

Wild Rose along Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, (Donna).

Trumpet-creeper along Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, (Donna).

Coneflower, backyard.

Black-eyed Susan, Griggs Reservoir Park, Panasonic ZS50.

.

Often we find ourselves enchanted by a new view of something seen before. Such was the case with our close up encounter with the Cliff Swallows. Their nest building and graceful flight, what amazing birds! On the same day the celebration may be interrupted by an occurrence, like the sudden disappearance of a duckling, that is hard to watch.

Paddling into Kiwanis Riverway Park, Panasonic FZ200.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

.

XXX

.

Should you wish prints from various posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. If you don’t find it on the link drop us a line.

 

The Magic World Of The Very Small

The last few days found us paddling Griggs Reservoir. This time of year we always hope that staying close to the shoreline will result in warbler sightings and perhaps a few pictures. With warblers and other migrants moving through it’s a good time of year. In recent days on the reservoir we’ve even seen Mink along the banks and while walking just south of the dam my wife caught the tail end of a Bald Eagle as it flew overhead.

 

p1380316

Bald Eagle over the Scioto River just below Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

.

A number of immature Black-crowned Night Herons have also been seen, encouraging because of our recent discovery of one that had met it’s demise at the business end of a abandoned fishing line.

p1130791

Immature Black-crowned Night Heron, Griggs Reservoir.

.

Other things were also seen as we made our way along the shore.

bird-3-great-blue-heron-in-flight-1-lr-1-092016-griggs-paddle-cp1

A Great Blue Heron takes flight, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

img_6086

Two Wood Ducks seemingly amused by a Painted Turtle or is it the other way around, Griggs reservoir.

img_6095

A Red-tailed Hawk looks on as we head north along the west shore of the reservoir.

p1370799

Painted Turtles enjoy posing for the camera much more than some of the other species we encounter, (Donna)

p1010971s

A female Kingfisher actually poses for the camera, Griggs Reservoir.

.

Walking Griggs Park has been more productive for seeing as well as photographing warblers and other small birds mostly because of the difficulty in controlling and positioning the canoe in the pursuit of small active birds.

 

img_6193

A male Bluebird doing what bluebirds do best, Griggs Park.

 

img_6176

A male Cardinal, beautiful in the morning sun, Griggs Park.

img_6047

Eastern Phoebe, Griggs Park.

 

img_6153

Black-throated Green Warbler, Griggs Park.

 

 

p1380253

Another view, (Donna)

img_6167

Carolina Wren sings it’s heart out.

img_6151

Chipping Sparrow, Griggs Park.

.

If the warblers aren’t cooperating there may be a butterfly, not always rare, but one we’ve not noticed before.

p1380151

Checkered Skipper, Griggs Park, (Donna)

.

Fishing is also getting better as the weather cools with time taken off between casts to do a little house keeping along the shore. What can I say, it’s always there, but as those who read this blog already know, it makes me feel better to pick it up.

imgp0009-2

Another nice Smallmouth Bass, Griggs Reservoir

p1130800-2

Unlike fish that are always returned to the water, the trash covering the bottom of the canoe is not “Catch and Release”!

.

But recently real magic was discovered within the world of the very small when we spotted countless damselflies mating on fallen autumn leaves floating on the reservoir’s calm surface as we paddled back to our launch site during the warmth of the day. We’d never seen anything like that before.

damselflies-2-artistic-2-closer-1-best-1-092016-griggs-paddle-cp1

In the warming late morning sun Dusky Dancer were on every leaf, (Donna)

p1130755

The bigger the leaf the more damselflies. Sometimes, as we got close, they would swarm over the  canoe.

.

That’s about it for this post. For us living in northern regions autumn is a great time to be out in nature. A feeling borne from the knowledge that this fleeting time will not last. Thanks for stopping by.

dew-drop-crop

Dew Drop

xxx

Should you wish, various prints from this and other posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. and Donna’s 2017 Birds of Griggs Park calendar is available at Calendar.

 

Birding By Canoe, Alum Creek Reservoir

There may be a few birds that are easier to see from a canoe but for us the real reason for using one is that we enjoy messing around in small boats and it does offer a unique perspective on the landscape. The north end of Alum Creek reservoir in central Ohio is a beautiful place to explore. With an endless number of coves you never know what you’ll discover so there’s always anticipation. On the down side, while using binoculars to observe birds is usually not too difficult, taking acceptable pictures is another story as holding the camera steady while you and everything else is moving is almost impossible. The stronger the breeze the greater the challenge so often when we’re in the canoe my wife becomes the photographer and I handle the boat.

.

The following celebrates a recent adventure on the reservoir:

IMG_1308

Exploring a cove.

.

We often direct our gaze upward as we follow the shoreline.

IMG_1305

Looking for birds.

IMG_5021

Along the shore a Red-tailed hawk seemed to be tending a nest but no immature birds were seen.

P1270865

There was no shortage of Baltimore Orioles.

P1270890

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, (Donna)

P1270982

Double-crested Cormorants, (Donna).

.

While enjoying the birds, out of the corner of our eye we noticed a flowering plant unlike anything we recalled seeing before. So often when we discover a “new to us” plant it turns out to be invasive but that was not the case with this one.

IMG_1334

Close-up photography of a flower is not easy when you are in a canoe.

IMG_5059

Limber Honeysuckle, native to Ohio, very exotic looking.

IMG_1344

Another view, (Donna).

.

Looking up isn’t always necessary, down lower a few birds and turtles also cooperated for the camera.

IMG_4969

A Pileated Woodpecker liked something about this log.

 

IMG_5037

How many ducklings can a mother Wood Duck care for?

P1280016

A moment later they heading up into the grass, (Donna)

P1270766

Small Map Turtle, (Donna)

 

IMG_5051

Spotted Sandpiper along the shore.

P1270961

Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle, (Donna).

P1270843crop

There was no shortage of Prothonotary Warblers, (Donna).

P1280034

Singing, (Donna).

P1270936

These birds are flexible!, (Donna).

 

.

Other plants also fascinated.

P1270899

Pussytoes, (Donna).

P1280009

Shoreline grass, (Donna)

P1280032

Corn Salad, (Donna).

.

In addition to the birds and fascinating plants my wife spotted this small butterfly.

P1280024

Pearl Crescent, (Donna).

P1280021

Pearl Crescent from below, (Donna).

.

Did I say Alum Creek Reservoir is a beautiful place? It is, but the dark side is that there’s a lot of thrash.

P1280087

Just part of the trash we collected during our paddle. The bow and stern areas of the canoe were full.

.

But ending on a more upbeat note:

IMG_1317

Cove, Alum Creek Reservoir.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Londonsenior

The life of an elderly Londoner and her travels.

Tootlepedal's Blog

A look at life in the borders

Eloquent Images by Gary Hart

Insight, information, and inspiration for the inquisitive nature photographer

gordoneaglesham

The Wildlife in Nature

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

My Best Short Nature Poems

Ellen Grace Olinger

through the luminary lens

The sun is the great luminary of all life - Frank Lloyd Wright

talainsphotographyblog

Nature photography

Mike Powell

My journey through photography

The Prairie Ecologist

Essays, photos, and discussion about prairie ecology, restoration, and management

Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog

Kerry Mark Leibowitz's musings on the wonderful world of nature photography

Montana Outdoors

A weblog dedicated to the world outside the cities.

Cat Tales

Mike and Lori adrift

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

Exploring Nature in New Hampshire

Jessica's Nature Blog

https://natureinfocus.blog

Quiet Solo Pursuits

My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Seasons Flow

Everything flows, nothing stands still. (Heraclitus)

Central Ohio Nature

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!